Websites vs. Social Media: What’s the Difference?

Although reaching customers through social media was once considered a flash-in-the-pan marketing tactic, industry leaders have changed their tune and now preach a common belief: social media marketing is absolutely a necessity. However, websites are still a healthy routine for brands to maintain.

So, what’s the difference?

Both websites and social media channels are sought after for information. The difference is in the type of information consumers expect to find on each platform.

Let’s start at the heart of the matter.

  • Google’s mission:to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” 
  • Facebook’s mission: “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

These missions share an ideal that information and connection are powerful, but the intended audiences are very different.

Google is about the world, as a whole; it was engineered to provide information, via robots (aka, an algorithm).

Facebook is about people, as individuals, and as human beings. Facebook utilizes algorithmic testing as well, but human response and emotion are the measurements, while Google’s uses robots.

These two core beliefs are the foundation of the Internet as we know it today.

More differences:

  • Websites convey a brand’s makeup, from specific products and services to mission statements and contact pages. On the other hand, social media offers smaller pieces of a brand’s story while creating conversations with consumers.
  • Websites could be, to some degree, considered static novels, waiting to be opened. Social media channels are short stories that are compiled in real time, to identify [and distinguish] a brand’s voice, culture, and place in the market.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two, is that social media platforms have the capacity to perform nearly every function a website can.

On the flip side, websites are not usually known for customer reviews, continued conversations, or even a warm body on the other side of the screen, so to speak. 

Maybe now the question is: what’s next? We’ll leave that one to the engineers; in the meantime, we’ll be moving steadily ahead with digital trends.

Human To Human Recommendations Are King

During a recent consulting session, we were having a great conversation with an attorney about the powerful value of social media marketing. Being the type of client who didn’t need convincing on why social is imperative, we mainly analyzed consumer behavior as well as what the future might hold for social, and the digital world beyond.

As the conversation went on, we dove into the H2H Social theory that social media is the new search, when it comes to hyperlocal marketing. The attorney looked a little bit puzzled, so we followed up the claim with a real-life example.

We gave the attorney this scenario (feel free to ask yourself the same questions): let’s say you’re out of town on business. You’re in San Francisco, for the first time ever. You have a black-tie event to attend, and need the best in the biz to style your hair for the occasion. What to do?

Question 1

Option A): Google it.

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Option B): Ask your Facebook community for a recommendation.

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Question 2

To break this down further, we posed this question: does Google have the ability to experience businesses as a human, and/or a scale to rate customer service, from a direct experience? No. Do other humans you know personally (via Facebook or other social channel)? Yes.

Question 3

Who do I want to take advice from, for a place that offers great service and good results? A robot, or a human I know and trust?

Going back to the H2H Social belief that as much as AI will soon be capable of, it will never fully replace the human condition; emotions, preferences, and nature/nurture responses based on each individuals life experience.

To conclude this post, we wanted to share an excerpt from human economy expert, Bryan Kramer. In his book Shareology, Kramer explores where we came from as humans who share, and where we might be headed. With it, Kramer explains that social media is at the top of the list for communication tools, especially for brands.

Kramer writes:

“As far as brands are concerned, one of the biggest shortcomings of the Digital Age is the disconnection between their (brands) own self-recognition as an entity and the individual humans they’re trying to serve. Brands most often turn to technology first to make quick connections at scale but forget what makes people want to interact with them in the first place- a human-to-human connection. This is especially true on social channels.”

 

Why Social Beats Search, When It Comes To Business

At the dawn of the Internet age, information was the most important form of content for businesses. For that reason, traditional search engines, like AOL, Google, and Yahoo!, flourished. However, as the digital world evolves, more and more content must be sorted through to find what’s real and what’s valuable. There are times, as a consumer, when I search for information on Google. But, when the results show up, I find myself being more and more skeptical and asking the question, “but is this ‘top-ranked’ business really the best option for what I need?”

Google’s ranking is based on an algorithm, or in another word, a robot. SEO (search engine optimization) companies have perfected the science of writing pages upon pages of optimized content in order to convince Google’s algorithm, that that particular brand is number one.

But, at the end of the day, are those brands who hire the SEO companies actually number one,when it comes to good business?

Sure, review sites like Yelp! are good because they usually showcase real people with real experiences. But, one of the first things any marketing agency will tell a client to do to get started, is have their employees and their employees’ family members go on those review sites, and create pseudo-consumer accounts, and then leave positive feedback.

Still, as consumers, we’re trusting robots.

What sets social media apart from traditional search engines and essentially, robots, is the fact that you’re dealing with real humans, and not only that, you know those humans, personally (most of the time). Instead of typing “best Italian food in __(insert city)__” into Google and searching, you’re probably more likely to post a status on Facebook to your local connections, and ask, “where’s the best place for Italian food in __(insert city)__?” I’m not sure about baby boomers, but for millennials and beyond, this is the new search, when it comes to discovering local businesses.

At the heart of the matter, as much as social media is looked at as a “digital trend,” it’s really more about human connection than any other form of digital communication. Social media is bringing back the value of being committed to good business. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, are holding businesses accountable- because nobody wants a negative review showing up to one customer’s network of 500+ local, potential customers.

Good business and human connection are still the number one driving forces behind productivity, and revenue. With that, you can only get true human connection for business in one place on the Internet, and that’s social media.

Ultimately, here’s the difference between social and search: When you want a recommendation for a good business, who do you trust more? A robot, or a human that you know and trust?

Originally published on March 30, 2016

Social Media Success Is Right Outside Our Smartphones

Social media marketing is a digital trade, yes. But, is the success of your brand’s social media presence defined by digital efforts only? Absolutely not! Here’s why, and how, you can capitalize in your online efforts through offline culture.

Putting The “Social” In “Social Media”

What would social networking look like if we never left our inner circle, or office? Sure, we might connect with people through relevant hashtags, and maybe even through online community groups. But, our efforts certainly wouldn’t be maximized. Why? Successful social media marketing is fueled best by social interaction, offline. Never underestimate the power of face-time (not the smartphone version), and good old word of mouth marketing.

Belonging Is Necessary

We can all agree that marketing has always been directly linked to psychology. Right? Really, the only difference between psychology and marketing is that one focuses on human behavior, while the other focuses on human buying behavior. In the early 1900s, psychologist, Abraham Maslow unveiled a pyramid of five human needs, which must be met for ultimate success. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a sense of belonging is necessary for humans to be motivated. In the same vein, there is a direct link between belonging and being social. Giving customers [and potential customers] a physical sense of belonging yields motivation to return to your brand, and more importantly, it makes them proud enough of their relationship with your brand, to want to tell their friends about it. This cannot be achieved by online efforts alone.

Ideas For Offline Social Efforts

First off, we have to get out of an office setting; more so, we need to get into a social setting. The answers to your offline efforts are exactly that: offline. Depending on each brand’s industry, find a social space where your customers and/or peer are likely to gather or hang out. Then, the sky’s the limit:

  • Talk to people! The key here is to ask a lot of questions, and be a great listener. Eventually, the tables will turn, and you’ll have the opportunity to talk about your brand, and how you help customers. This will usually lead to your new connection asking, “do you have a card?”
  • Host an event! Depending on your industry, figure out a way to bring people together, in person. Planning is crucial for this one, so don’t “just wing it.” If all goes well, make the social event a annual or bi-annual happening; this will give customers a sense of belonging and something to look forward to, once or twice a year.
  • Join local community groups! Whether it’s your local chamber, or a industry-specific group of professionals, getting out and talking to people in those communities will yield more brand awareness, and possibly, new customers.
  • Partner with other businesses! As our name indicates, we’re big believers in collaboration. Try piloting a co-op marketing event with one or two other businesses. Again, you’ll be reaching a valuable audience you might not have face-time with otherwise.

REMEMBER to point people to your online efforts! With all of the above ideas, don’t forget to tell people that you’re available online. Have cards made with your social channel information, so people can easily find you. After your offline interaction, sending them to your social channels will keep the conversation going.